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VA IG Confirms Phoenix Hospital Lied about Wait Times

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An internal Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) watchdog confirmed allegations today of falsified records at VA healthcare facilities, and in one case, discovered that veterans were waiting 91 days longer for care than the facility was reporting. 

This information was made public in the VA Office of Inspector General’s interim report on its review of the Phoenix Health Care System, where allegations of falsified records and improperly long wait times were first made public by national media. Since then, similar cases of mismanagement have been reported at VA facilities across the country on a near-daily basis, suggesting a systemic problem in the way the U.S. is managing the healthcare of its veterans.

The findings of the report are damning, and can only suggest that much worse news is to come as the IG investigates Phoenix and the rest of the VA healthcare facilities completely.

The preliminary investigation revealed that at least 1,700 veterans were waiting for care at the Phoenix Health Care System (HCS), but were not included on the official electronic waiting list. This put them at risk for getting “lost in the system,” and possibly never receiving health care at all. Official numbers from Phoenix HCS say that veterans waited on average 24 days for their first appointment and only 43 percent waited more than 14 days. In reality, those numbers were much higher: the IG discovered an average wait time of 115 days, with 84 percent waiting more than 14 days.

There are ongoing or scheduled investigations at 42 VA medical facilities and the IG’s findings so far confirm the widespread allegations. “Our reviews at a growing number of VA medical facilities have thus far provided insight into the current extent of these inappropriate scheduling issues throughout the VA health care system and have confirmed that inappropriate scheduling practices are systemic throughout VHA,” the report says. 

As more evidence is collected, the IG says it will work with the Department of Justice to pursue possible criminal or civil actions against the parties responsible.

Today’s revelations confirm large-scale changes need to be made to offer veterans the care they deserve. Project On Government Oversight believes that in order to explore the right solutions, we need to first understand the extent of mismanagement at the VA. For this reason, POGO partnered with Iraq And Afghanistan Veterans of America to offer VA employees a secure way to report mismanagement. If you work inside the VA and have direct knowledge of fraud, waste or abuse, please visit www.VAOversight.org to submit information to POGO securely.

By: Avery Kleinman
Beth Daley Impact Fellow, POGO

Avery Kleinman Avery Kleinman is the Beth Daley Impact Fellow for the Project On Government Oversight.

Topics: Government Accountability

Related Content: Veterans Affairs

Authors: Avery Kleinman

Submitted by Du ck at: June 2, 2014
I agree
Submitted by Uncle Tobey at: June 1, 2014
When Congress voted to send our military into war... consideration of how and how much it will cost us was taken. To pay for portions of that cost, American's poor and rich are being solicited by the "Disabled American Veterans". In my opinion there should be no need for such an organization. The bill for what is needed for our Veterans should be footed by the American taxpayers, straight up with total accountability of what the cost of war is... cost not being hidden by "donations" being taken out side of taxes and the "benefits" provided by the DAV. As for the VA providing what us veterans need... I thinks the VA needs to treat our medical needs us and each individual as a "whole" as they are our primary medical provider. For example; my mental health psychiatrist told me that I must seek out marriage counseling out side the VA at my own cost. I have a good job and medical insurance so I can do that but wouldn't make more sense if marriage counseling was a subpart of the mental health system? If a veteran is suffering with PTSD don't you think that has impact on the veterans marriage/family? Yes I know! It is all about money! Congress and the American people knew/know that before we go to war it will cost twice as much the cost of the war to take care of the veterans after the war. I propose no more wars. I propose that those who profited from that wars pay to take care of veterans. I propose we endeavor to base or economy on other "things" other than War and oil. in order to circumvent a civil war we need to peacefully reinvent the American political system... scrap it, make it simple. Fair, monetarily prudent elections, fair lobbies, etc., etc. I doubt though that the "fortunately rich" (shysters influencing our government and profiting) will go down without a fight because one day their appeasements to keep the poor control are going to be to little to late. Sometimes I feel so un-proud to be a US Citizen. I feel ashamed of myself because I don't always have the guts or energy to participate in the ways we can change the bad and create the good. Is that what the mega-wealth relies upon, along with their meager appeasements, to keep them in power? Christ what a sick life. I would be happier and content if I would just go buy an acre in the mountains plant a garden and raise chickens and forget about society.

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